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  • #46
    What can I say...took an injury to the hip a couple months back, slowing progress by making everyday life a greater chore.

    The market for Dodge Diesels is totally blown-out due to Covid, with the highest demand and highest prices ever seen. As the truck is my foundation for the solar project and more, all I can say is that I am suffering all the more for this, all the while checking craigslist several times each day and desperately making an offer when something viable comes up. Again, the market conditions are just ridiculous for this vehicle! Can't find anything 1996-2005 under 200k miles for less than 18 grand, while something like a 1998 with 250k is going for over 20 grand and getting flooded with offers. Covid is responsible in multiple ways, economically and socially, with examples in supply and demand, a corrupt and faulty stock exchange, plus, people who used to eat out, go to bars, the movies, theme parks, cruises, etc., have been saving all that money due to Covid and can't even buy themselves a fancy new vehicle. They saved a bunch of money by not going to Hawaii last year, and now they've blown-out the market on craigslist. What the heck!

    I may fall back on the Trojans (John Bedini's recommendation from the SG days), but have been looking into the Big Sur Battery made by a local company called Monterey Batteries. I hope to hear back soon, if not, I'll give them a call some time. It's all on the backburner right now for the reasons laid out above.

    Still wondering how I'm going to log the battery data.

    At least I have the Solar Tracker V, the key to it all!

    I'm not giving up!

    Sincerely,
    James

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    • #47
      Hi y'all,

      Got a couple Napa RV/Marine 100Ah deep cycles off craigslist, $20 each! Looking at two more, but the guy wants $$$. Gonna hook them up to the Amorphous panels through the Solar Tracker V. I'd like to do the charge, discharge, repeat and watch the capacity go up sort of thing and see what happens. Just a trial...I may be overthinking it with regards to previous posts, as it may just be as simple as topping off at a high potential, rotating regularly, and limiting the load to the...C-20 rate, was it? That's where I'll start, I suppose, with these deep cycles, for a trial run, and let these ideas sit and distill...Wish me luck, me crickets!

      Sincerely,
      James
      Last edited by jajamezsz; 07-16-2021, 02:38 AM.

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      • #48
        Back with another update!

        Scored two more Napa RV/Marine's off craigslist for $115! Very excited to add to the bank. I figure I'll just run some basic tests with these 4 Napa 100Ah's and my panels. I can just set the panels up in the back yard (sorry, Mom!) and cycle the battery as mentioned in the previous post over and over until I can switch the system over to a truck camper. All that fuss about a battery monitor was a little much, but we live and we learn and I figure that when it's graceful, well, that's just something special, now, ain't it? I'm nothing special in this department and consider myself a rough and tumble novice, however ambitious, even after as much time as I've spent on the subject...

        There's a little more to it, and still a long way to go, but let's go ahead and design a C-20 load on a cart with the batteries, set up the Amorphous panels with the Solar Tracker V, and get on going towards the fruits of Solar Secrets! However ram-shackle it may be, I'll try my best to keep it looking tidy...



        Sincerely,
        James
        Last edited by jajamezsz; 07-29-2021, 09:41 PM.

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        • #49
          Hi folks,

          Back on the air with more of the scoop...so I've got 4 deep cycles for 420Ah, 7 panels at 79W each for 555W, just enough 6AWG (I hope), and the S40A12. Still looking at trucks (that's not getting any better, but there's always a chance), still need little doo-dads, and still need a C-20 load.

          A question about fuses that I might as well catalogue - I guess they call it "overcurrent protection" and anyway who wants their panels fried? Sounds like a good idea, and I figured a fuse would be necessary somewhere in the system. So the question is based on another datapoint left by the engineers for me to interpret...I am running 7 panels in parallel for 28.5A into the S40A12. From what I can tell, each panel normally operates at ~4.1A and can tolerate brief instances of up to 14A max - the solar regulator that is typically sold with the panels is rated for 14A, and it mentions that figure of 14A again in the datasheet where it states "do not connect a load that exceeds 14A." To the best of my ability I take it that this is the OCP figure I was looking for (usually stated as 'max series fuse rating,' which I did not find in the datasheet). The manufacturer is no longer in business, but I guess I could try bugging the ebay seller, "xunlightchina." The seller was actually quite friendly and spoke good english, as well. Another related point is that the 14A fuse is available only as a 1/4''x1-1/16'' automotive fuse - which actuallly looks like it fits in the solar fuse holder - just have to confirm that - while the solar fuses come in 10A and 15A. From my automotive background I would say start with the 10A and if it blows once or twice move up to the 15A. Things get a little hotter when you go above the fuse rating, so it's only recommended to do in small increments or in a situation where the wires aren't likely to burn up. As long as I can stop a big transient at 15A, I think I'll be okay. You never know until you try...again, I'm just a novice - never built or ran a solar system, but I believe well, heck, why not? So I'm just feeling my way through it...at any rate I'm not exactly sure what to expect in terms of "overcurrent," I mean, is it just like a transient resulting from some type of fault? If so, what type of fault could cause such an overcurrent situation? Don't get me wrong, fuses are always nice to have somewhere in the system, I'm just trying to understand just what I'm getting myself into...

          So yeah, while it may seem chaotic, it's actually all coming together, slowly but surely...
          Last edited by jajamezsz; 09-06-2021, 04:51 PM.

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          • #50
            It only took a bit of research to learn a lot about my situation. I'm really only looking out for a short in or around a panel which would cause the full amperage of the rest of the panel array to run through the short which, for my 79W Flexopowers, would quickly exceed their limit of 14A. I am willing to say at this point that the short situation sounds pretty rare, but anyway for 7 panels in parallel drawing 4.1A each, I figure 7 fuses at 5A each would be the choice. In the rare event of overcurrent due to a short (faulty manufacturing, pinched wire, etc), I'd play it safe and cut it off at 5A since the panels are normally operating at ~4.1A, and I would want that circuit isolated until repaired. With that setup, I could still run the remainder panels if one or more were to go out. I wouldn't want nearly 24A loading wires only built for 14A. Much better to trip a fuse at 5A, don'tcha think? I think I did alright on that one!

            Take care now,
            Sincerely,
            James
            Last edited by jajamezsz; 09-06-2021, 08:25 PM.

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